News: Searching for the history of Sidney, Wisconsin

Written by Chad Karnitz

Transcribed by Dolores Kenyon





Searching for the history of Sidney

By Chad Karnitz


In my family we sometimes talk of my great-grandfather Tom Wren.  But we can’t talk about him without mentioning Sidney (Sydney).


It appears on some county maps as a flip at the intersection of Pine Valley Township’s Sections 16, 17, 20 and 21.  Sometimes it will appear on a state map, like the 1969 gas station map I found the other day.


If you trace the old Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railroad line (a division of Chicago and Northwestern) (C&NW) from Merrillan, you’ll see it runs right past Sidney.  A reproduction map of the 1950’s C&NW stops does not include Sidney.


In 1919 History of Clark County said, “Sydney, Tay and Trow are stopping places on the Omaha, between Neillsville and Merrillan.”


Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway locomotive

(Wikipedia Photo: Added by Clark Co., WI History Buffs)


Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway with a Locomotive Featured on Stock Certificate

(Wikipedia Photo: Added by Clark Co., WI History Buffs)



Somewhere there are photos of a train crash in Sidney that May have killed the engineer.  This is believed to have happened in the 1920s.


I do know there was a cheese and butter factory there.  Some of the old furniture, such as cabinetry, ended up in my grandmother’s house.  I also know my great-grandfather Tom Wren ran a saw mill there in the 20s and 30s.  In fact, those of you with older homes May be living in a house constructed with lumber cut by his saw.  According to a 1930 issue of the Press, he sawed the lumber for Grand View School, west of Neillsville.



Tom and Amy Wren are pictured in their front yard. 

Tom was known as the “Mayor” of Sidney.


One of his duties as “mayor,” he told the Press in October 1956, was lamplighter:


Each evening he climbed a pole to light an oil lamp which was the one touch of urbanity in this otherwise quiet country scene, and each morning he remounted the pole to blow out the light.”


The same article describes the coal kilns and their terrible smell.  It ceased operating in 1888, Tom said.


An interesting fact about the railroad was revealed in the 1956 article:


“Until a few years back Sidney was marked by a sign on the railroad track.  Mainly it was there for the edification of the trainmen.  It marked the ‘top’ of the grade from Merrillan.  The rest of the way into Neillsville was a downhill grade.  A siding, since removed, was located at Sidney, and when the freights were too much for the engines to handle, they would pull part of the train to the Sidney siding and return for the other part before going further.”


I bought the Wren property, all two acres of it, in the 1990s, from the estate of my great aunt who had inherited the land after my great-grandmother passed away in 1973.


By then the cheese factory was a crumbling stone ruin, the saw mill a memory and the house falling down.


It was a good connection to the past, I reasoned, and nice, too, to be able to keep the land in the family.


I’ve heard rumors the old house, which stood on the west side of the road, had been a depot of sorts.  I don’t really believe it, however, since the Neillsville depot was less than two miles away.


I did learn something interesting from Walter Zank last week, who told me the railroad would leave cars of fertilizer or other goods that farmers purchase at the Sidney siding.  Zank also said before the Omaha Road went into the city of Neillsville, the train used to stop on the west side of the Black River where a small depot once stood and, since there was no way to turn around, back up all the way to Merrillan.



A carload of logs on the sidetrack at Sidney, no doubt soon to be sawed into lumber. 

The Omaha Road mainline track is visible on the left.


In my quest for historical information on Sidney the “holy grail” would be a picture of the charcoal kiln or perhaps an engine going through Sidney.  I’d also love to see pictures that pre-date 1925 and show clearly the house or cheese factory or both.


Sisters, Nina (Rush) Wren and Helen Wren

 This photo also shows the front of the old Sidney cheese factory


Do you have any such pictures?  Do you know someone who does?  Do you have an interesting story about the Sidney community or Tom Wren?  Contact me at the Press and help me fill in some missing pieces of the puzzle.


Author’s note: Thanks to Ermine (Erdine) Payne of Neillsville for her research efforts and Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon, WA, for sharing her documents and interest.



Mr. Thomas Wren and Miss Amy King, both residents of pleasant Ridge, were united in marriage at the Methodist parsonage Tuesday evening Rev. Ingham reading the service.  Mr. Wren and his bride leave for Randall, Minn., where he has a position.


The above biography was taken from January 1901 news in the Good Old Days of January 5, 2011 (Neillsville Times)



September 1908


A new Farmer’s Cooperative Creamery has been organized in western Pine Valley and eastern Hewett.  It will be known as the Pine Valley Creamery Assoc.  The following officers have been selected: Fred Sauerberg, president; Fred Wiesner, treasurer; O. M. Orvold, secretary.  Land for the creamery site has been secured on the south side of the railroad track in Sidney.  Work will begin at once on the new building which will be 28 by 60 feet, 12 feet to plate with lean-to.  All will be built of stone.  The site of the creamery will enable the products to be shipped directly without necessity of hauling it to the railroad.  (Clark County Press, Good Old Days, September 3, 2008)



From the News of 1909:


A letter to the Editor, mailed from Andover, S.D.:


Dear Sir: As it is rainy at present and we have a little time, we decided to write a few lines for your paper.


There were seven of us, all from Neillsville, on this threshing machine crew but there are only three of us left.  Four of the boys have gone home to see their mothers; the other three of us are going to hang through until we get done.  The first one going back home narrowly escaped death at the hands of his father who mistakenly took him for a tramp;


Anybody wishing a drink of artesian water can do so by calling on this party.


In about a week later, two more left for their respective homes, telling all kinds of fishing stories about this country for an excuse to go home to see pa and ma, and also their sweethearts.  Our advice is that the next time they go west, bring their mama with them, so they will stay a week or so at least.


Well, we three have been busy threshing just the same. Our best run was 3,770 bushels of wheat.


We will be home about Oct. 1st if all goes well.  We have about 10 days threshing here and then the machine will be shipped to Blunt, S. D., where we have 15 or 20 days run. Blunt is about 160 miles southwest of here.  Hoping to see the tenderfoots in the near future, we remain.  The Neillsville Boys, Charles White, Thomas Wren and Edward Selves


(From The Good Old Days of September 2, 2009 issue)


September 1910

Last week was a pleasant one for the members of the Pine Valley Creamery Association at Sydney, as the mortgage, which the company incurred in starting the cooperative idea, was paid off.  The company is now out of debt and has a most modern creamery.  The payment of the mortgage was made in two years, which speaks well for the prosperity of the business.  (From The Good Old Days of the September 22, 2010 issue)



Notes from an obituary for Mrs. Asa (Blanche) Darling re: Creamery at Sidney


The former Blanche Schummel was born August 3, 1896, in Neillsville, and was the daughter of the late George and Emma (Darling) Schummel.  On June 25, 1913, she was married to Asa Darling in Neillsville.  They operated a creamery in the Sidney area, near Neillsville, before going in to the restaurant business here.


January 1929:


Last week the New Dells Lumber Co. started hauling logs from its skid-ways in the Town of Levis and on the O’Brien farm in South Pine Valley.  Five teams of horses are hauling from the skidways back of the R. B. French farm in Levis and four teams from the farms in the neighborhood.  The teams get onto Black River at the mouth of French’s Creek, go up the river to the Yndogliato farm and from there a road is made, cutting across to the turnpike near Silver Crest School, thence north to Sydney where the logs are landed.


On Monday teams started hauling from the northern camps in Pine Valley and Weston.  When this gets into full swing, 25 sleighs will be used, each with a four-horse team. This will make quite an imposing procession as they travel on the sleighing road going down Black River from some distance above Neillsville to where the logs are landed here at the special side-track west of the train depot.  The first three loads were landed Monday afternoon.  The big snowstorm Tuesday slowed up work some, but it is planned that the roads will be kept open under all circumstance.


News one week later:


Myron Osgood walked over from Sydney Friday to take the train to his home at Granton.  He is working at the log landing for the New Dells Lumber Co. at Sydney.  The big storm Thursday night blockaded the roads so that hauling was stopped.  The camps in Levis and South Pine Valley ran out of hay for their horses Friday and two four-horse teams came through the snowdrifts to Sydney, each taking back a few bales of hay.


The old stone creamery at Sydney has been fitted up to lodge both the men and teams that are working at the landing, loading logs there for the New Dells Lumber Co.  Stoves and bunks have been put in and the place has been made very comfortable.  One end of the building is fitted up to stable the horses.  Clark County Press, Good Old Days, Jan. 21, 2009)


October 1929


Tom Wren refuses to admit that the lumber days, of Neillsville and vicinity are over or anywhere near it.  This summer he has moved the old Wren sawmill from the Bob French farm in Levis, where it has been for the past 12 years, to his home at Sydney station west of Neillsville.  He has bought the old, stone cheese factory at Sydney for a boiler room with the boiler and engine set up inside, and has thoroughly overhauled and rebuilt the mill, so that it is in fine running order.  This mill is 48 years old, having been landed here Dec. 1, 1881 when the railroad station was across the river near the Ed Hubbard farm, only a short distance from where the old mill is again stationed.  It was taken to the Sereno Wren farm east of the city where it was in active operation for many years.


Much of the lumber in the big Altemus house on the Ridge road was sawed at this mill, when John S. Dore built the house.  Also a great deal of lumber material went into farm buildings around the area, which was sawed by this mill.


The original flues are still in the boiler, all in perfect condition. A few years ago the manufacturers of the boiler heard of its existence and sent Tom Wren a fine steam whistle.  Tom tuned up the whole outfit the other day, blew the whistle and sawed a log or two, and says everything ran like a top.  With this engine and boiler inside, he plans to saw logs at any time regardless of the weather.


On the spot where this mill now stands there was for many years a battery of brick kilns for burning charcoal. Thousands of feet of fine red oak logs were sawed into cord wood and then burned into charcoal, logs which would have now made their owners wealthy and kept Tom Wren’s mill busy the year round.  Of course those days are gone never to return but there is still a considerable amount of logs to be cut each year and the mill will be a convenience to the community.


(The Wren sawmill, at Sydney, was located 1 ½ miles west of Neillsville and just south of where new Highway 10 crosses Sydney Avenue. DZ) (The property now is owned by a great-grandson of Tom Wren.)

(Clark County Press – Good Old Days, October 21, 2009)



The Wren saw mill operating in Sidney sometime in the 1920s or 1930s.


Some of you old-timers May remember Tom Wren’s lawnmower sharpening business.  Yes, by his own account, he hand-sharpened the blades on thousands of the old non-motorized push mowers.


Did I mention he was the unofficial “mayor” of Sidney?  After living in Minnesota and working with threshing crews in the Dakotas, he found a place to belong in Sidney.  He lived there from about 1925 when he purchased the property from Anton Mrazek and his wife, Marie, until his death in 1969.



Sydney News from 1930 as published in the Clark County Press


Mrs. Emma Carlson is ill with the flu at the present writing.


There was a capon picking bee last week at the Ed. Allen, August Wagner and Carl Allen farms.


Mrs. M. M. Blish is ill with the grip at this writing.


Orin Eastman sawed wood for August Klann and M.M. Blish last week.


Some logs are coming in at Tom Wren’s saw mill these days.


Mr. Seelow and August Klann had large piles of wood sawed on the north road recently.  They will haul this wood home during the winter. 


Tom Wren furnished wood for the Grand View school house recently.


Mrs. Klann and her daughter-in-law, Mrs. August Klann, were recent callers at the Blish home.



Added news note:


My mother used to tell about hearing the whistle at the Wren saw mill when it was on the French property on the east side of the Black River in the Town of Levis, as her family lived across the river and a bit to the north of the mill and the kids always knew when it was time for lunch as they would hear that whistle. This was in the later 1920’s. Dmk


May 1931


The State Boiler Inspector was through this vicinity last week and tested the boiler in Tom Wren’s saw mill at Sydney.  This boiler will be 50 years old this fall but stood the severe test and was pronounced in perfect condition.


Mr. Wren, last week, sawed out a lot of pine logs of the Dells Lumber Company cut, which was stranded in Wedges Creek and his mill, ran to perfection.  Although the logs had been cut over a year ago they made fine lumber, no wormholes and all were sound.                                                                                          




May 1934

The sound of Tom Wren’s sawmill whistle awoke the echoes and the Pine Valley farmers Monday morning.  Tom has quite a roll-a-way of logs to be cut. (Good Old Days, May 6, 2009)



A news item: Train wreck at Sidney in August 1938:


The eastbound midnight passenger train on the Omaha railroad, running through here, was wrecked near the siding at Sydney, 2 ½ miles west of Neillsville at 12:30 a.m., Tuesday.  During the heavy rainstorm and flood some boards and planks from a nearby bridge washed against a culvert, which resulted in a washout.  Hundreds of people drove out there in cars to view the wreck.


Engineer Joe Burkhart of Altoona had slowed up for a curve and saw some water, and just after crossing the washout the rails broke and spread.  The three coaches, including the sleeper, remained on the track, one at a dangerous angle, but the engine fell over on its side.


Cuts on the head and arm were suffered by Engineer Burkhart.  John Lurman of Edgar, one of the passengers, suffered a thumb injury, and John Daniels of Minneapolis received cuts on the head and an arm, which were treated by Dr. Housley.


A special train from Marshfield went to the scene of the wreck and picked up the passengers and mail going to the east and another train carried passengers and mail going to the west.  The wrecker from Altoona got the three coaches out of he way and built a new section of track Tuesday, but crews were still working today to get the heavy engine upright and back onto the rails.  (The Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI [1938 news], The Good Old Days, August 13, 2008)



The above photo was taken of the train wreck near the Sydney siding, west of Neillsville, in the early morning of August 23, 1938.  A heavy rain created a washout, which caused the engine to topple over on the side of the track. The coaches remained on the ties, with only the Engineer Joe Burkhardt of Altoona and two passengers receiving minor injuries.  The photo was taken by Erwin Marden of Neillsville.



January 1939


The oldest portable saw mill in Clark County and one of the oldest mills of its kind in the United States was placed in well-earned retirement on January 9, by Tom Wren of Sidney, when the engine’s venerable flues gave out after 57 years of service.


The saw mill, a 20-horsepower affair, was brought to Clark County on December 1, 1881, by Tom’s father, Sereno Wren, and was unloaded at the Ed Hubbard farm, where the railroad station was located at the time.


Since its arrival here the saw mill has been operated yearly and for many seasons was kept going full speed ahead.  Mr. Wren was unable to estimate how many feet of lumber had been sawed from logs by the portable machine.  However, he said the total would run into many million feet.


The last big job by the saw mill was the sawing of 4,000 feet of lumber for P. M. Warlum of Neillsville.  That job was just recently finished.  A great deal of the lumber sawed by the old saw mill was used for building structure within the county.  About ten years ago Tom bought the old stone cheese factory at Sidney and moved the saw mill there from the Bob French farm in the Town of Levis, where it had been maintained for about 12 years.  At that time, after the saw mill was moved, the original flues were in perfect condition upon inspection, when Mr. Wren overhauled the saw mill.


“I will just retire the saw mill now,” commented Mr. Wren, Monday.  “Maybe the makers of the engine will want that.”


(Above taken from the January 7, 2009 issue of The Clark County Press, in the January 1939 section of the Good Old Days, pg 20.)


A family reunion was held in conjunction with some wedding anniversary celebrations in 1934.  The Neillsville-Granton area natives were of the early “Buffalo Tribe” families.  Back row, left to right: Delbert A. Rodman, James King, Frank Ruddock, Thomas Wren, William King and Rev. Longnecker.  Middle row, left to right: Mrs. Longnecker, Alma King Spencer, Lucy King Brown, Julia King Brown, Etta King Ruddock, Amy King Wren, Hattie King Rodman and Belle Holmes Howard.  Front row, left to right: Anderson, Bessie Howard Anderson, Mrs. George Howard, Lillian King Howard, John Howard, George Howard, and Leonard Howard.  (Photo courtesy of Margueirte Brown Tibbetts)


Fourtieth Anniversary for the Thomas Wren’s



Wren, Thomas (40th – 1941)


Among the guests who attended the celebration of the fortieth wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Wren at their home in Sydney last Wednesday were:


Mrs. John Howard and son, Floyd, Minneapolis; Mrs. Lucy Brown, Mrs. Hattie Rodman, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Ruddock, Mr. and Mrs. William Krasky and son, Mrs. W. M. Baptie, Seattle, Wash., a sister of Mr. Wren, Mrs. James King, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Karnitz, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Wren and three daughters, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Rush, Merrillan, Mrs. Hada Cardarelle and three sons, and Dr. and Mrs. F. E. Sillick.  There were eleven grandchildren present.


A bountiful supper was served to the group; Mr. and Mrs. Wren were the recipients of many lovely gifts and well wishes for the future.  Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark County, WI) Thurs. 23 Oct. 1941



Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Wren will observe their 40th wedding anniversary on October 15, at their home in Sidney.  They were married in 1901, in the parsonage of the Methodist Church, Neillsville.  Rev. A. V. Ingham performed the ceremony.


After their marriage, they moved to Little Falls, Minn., where Mr. Wren worked in a saw mill.  Two years later, they returned to Neillsville, where Mr. Wren worked as an engineer in the old spoke mill.  The mill was located between the Omaha railroad tracks and O’Neill Creek, on the eastern outskirts of the city.  A few years before the outbreak of World War I, the mill was abandoned here and the equipment was moved to another location further north.


For a time after that, Mr. Wren worked on a farm, and then was employed in a local machine shop.


For several years past, Mr. Wren has operated a saw mill at his home in Sidney.  It is the same mill that his father had operated since the early 1880s. All the original saw mill equipment is still in use excepting the engine, which was discarded a couple of years ago.


Seven children were born to the union: Mrs. Louis (Myrtle) Polzin of Racine; Mrs. Ernest (Dorothy) Karnitz of Neillsville; Mrs. Sam (Nina) Rush of Merrillan; Helen, at home; Mrs. Louis (Hada) Cardarelle of Neillsville; and Elmer and Gilbert, both of Neillsville. (Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI; Good Old Days, October24, 2001)


September 1948


The three Wren brothers, who are enjoying a reunion here in Neillsville, have been having a fine time renewing old friendships.  Marion F. Wren, who hails from Washougal, Wash., has not been back to the town of his birth for 46 years and finds change and familiarity inextricably woven together.


Lemont F. Wren of Hawthorne, Calif., has been here more recently.  In fact he is laying the foundations of a firm habit of coming to Neillsville for a visit every fall, for this is his third autumn visit in a row.


Thomas Wren, who has stuck by the old hometown, plays host to his brothers.  Their only sister, Mrs. Nettie Baptie, of Seattle, Wash., had hoped to join her brothers here this fall but was unable to do so.


Three other brothers, Lemuel and Earl, of Washington, and Frank of California, are deceased.


The Wrens are children of Mr. and Mrs. Sereno Wren, who came into Clark County about 1867.  In 1869 they bought an 80-acre tract of land in the Town of Grant and three years later sold that and bought a 240-acre, also in the Town of Grant, which Mr. Wren cleared by ox team, and upon which he built at log cabin.


He brought the first traction steam engine into the county and used it for threshing for himself and his neighbors.  In 1881, he built a saw mill on his property and cut timber for hundreds of residences around Neillsville.


His first wife was Alleda Hatch of Kankakee, Ill, who subsequently died at Columbus, Wis., in 1891.  His second wife was Mrs. Sarah Smith, a widow of Orland Smith.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Wren are now deceased. (Clark County Press, September 1948) (Note: Alleda died at Columbus, WA (now Maryhill, WA.)


Thomas Wren—70th birthday


Mrs. Tom Wren of Sidney entertained the following people at Sunday dinner in honor of Mr. Wrens’ 70th birthday; Mrs. Louis Cardarelle and children, West Bend; Mr. and Mrs. Sam Rush and twin sons, Ernest and Ervin, and daughter, Laura Mae, and a friend of Merrillan; Mr. and Mrs. Bob Stapert of La Crosse; and Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Wren and family, Neillsville. (Clark County Press, February, 10, 1949)






“Mayor of Sidney” and Wife Feted: He Recalls Early Days of Community.


All seven children of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E Wren of Sidney* (two miles southwest of Neillsville) were present Sunday, for the Wrens 55th anniversary.


Sidney once held much more importance than it does now.  In fact, today it is just a place where the Pine Valley town road crosses the Omaha railroad tracks.  In Mr. Wren’s early youth, however, it was a booming community.  Besides offering a siding for a then-important (to the area) railroad, it was the center of a charcoal burning operation of considerable proportions.  “Coal” kilns “burned” hardwood into charcoal, handling 14 cords of four foot wood at a time.


Smoke and Smell


“The smoke and the smell were terrific,” Mr. Wren recalls.  He lived across the road from the kilns then, as he does now.  The kilns, however, burned their last in 1888, he recalls. 


For a long time, too, Mr. Wren served as the “lamplighter” of Sidney.  Each evening he climbed a pole to light an oil lamp which was the one touch of urbanity in this otherwise quiet country scene and each morning he remounted the pole to blow out the light. 


Sign is gone


Until a few years back Sidney was marked by a sign on the railroad track.  Mainly it was there for the edification of trainmen.  It marked the “top” of the grade from Merrillan.  The rest of the way into Neillsville was a downhill grade.  A siding, since removed, was located at Sidney, and when the freights were too much for the engines to handle, they would pull part of the train to the Sidney siding and return for the others part before going further.


With the exception of their two years in the west, the Wrens have made their home in their present house near the intersection of Sidney road and the railroad tracks.  (Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI, October 18, 1956)


(*Note:  The name seems to be spelled either of two ways, Sidney or Sydney.)



“Mayor” of Sydney, Wife in 60th Wedding Anniversary


Their 60th wedding anniversary will be observed Sunday by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wren of Sydney.


Amy King, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward King of the Town of Grant, and Thomas Wren, son of Mr. and Mrs. Sereno Wren of the Town of Grant, were married October 15, 1901, in the Methodist parsonage in Neillsville.  The Rev. A. V. Ingham, pastor of the Methodist Church officiated.  They were attended by her sister, Mr. Frank (Etta) Ruddock, and her nephew, Roy King.


The newlyweds spent the winter of 1901-1902 in Randall, Minn., and the winter of 1902-1903 in Little Falls, Minn., where Mr. Wren, then was employed in a lumber mill.  They returned to Clark County in 1903, locating at the home of his parents in the Town of Grant, where they assisted with the operation of the farm and the Wren saw mill, which was at the present location of the Walter Larsen farm.


40 Years in Sydney


In 1921, Mr. and Mrs. Wren purchased a residence in Sydney, two miles west of Neillsville, where they have lived since.


Mr. and Mrs. Wren are the longest residents of Sydney and Mr. Wren has often been spoken of as “The Mayor of Sydney.” 


Wren, a mechanic and ‘tinkerer’, spent 19 years working with a threshing crew, 14 years in Wisconsin and five years in North and South Dakota.  He operated an 18-ton steam-engine for rolling new streets and highways and operated a saw mill in Sydney, at the old Bob French Farm in Levis, and at the old Charles Eisentraut farm in the Town of Grant.  For the past 54 years he has been repairing lawn mowers. 


37 Great-Grandchildren


Seven children were born to them: Mrs. Louis (Myrtle) Polzin of Sturtevant, Mrs. Ernest (Dorothy) Karnitz of Neillsville, Mrs. Sam (Nina) Rush of Merrillan, Helen at home, Elmer Wren and Mrs. Louis (Hada) Cardarelle of West Bend, and Gilbert Wren of Neillsville.


They have 26 grandchildren, and 37 great-grandchildren.  The grandchildren include: Jon Karnitz; Betty, Louis, Dorothy, Elenore, Robert, Marvin, Thomas, Lamont Polzin; LaVerale, Marian, Laura, Ernest, Irvin Rush; Ardith, Donald, Melvin, Janel, Dennis Cardarelle; Eddie Wren; Linda, Rochelle, Judy, Ronnie, Larry & Tommy Wren.  (Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI, October 12, 1961)


Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wren 63rd Anniversary 1964


Mrs. Nina Blackman accompanied Mrs. Bill Hrasky and Carol, and Mrs. Frank Ruddock, to the Tom Wren home at Sidney Saturday for the 63rd wedding anniversary celebration of Mr. and Mrs. Wren.  Immediate members of the family helping their parents observe the event were Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Karnitz of Neillsville, Mrs. Sam Rush of Merrillan, Helen Wren, at home, and Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Wren of Neillsville.  A daughter, Mrs. Polzin of Racine, and a son, John, were unable to attend. Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI.) October 22, 1964


Wren, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas (64th – 1965)


Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wren of Sidney will observe their 64th wedding anniversary Saturday. A family gathering is being planned by their daughter, Helen, who makes her home with them.  Expected to attend are the following children: Mrs. Myrtle Polzin of Sturtevant, Mrs. Louis Cardarelle and Elmer Wren of West Bend, Mrs. Sam Rush of Merrillan, Gilbert Wren and Mrs. Dorothy Karnitz of Neillsville. Several members of their families will also be present.


Mr. and Mrs. Wren, 86 and 87, respectively, were married October 15, 1901. They have lived in their present home for the last 41 years. Both enjoy good health.  Mr. Wren in earlier years operated a saw mill near his home, and in later years was engaged in sharpening lawnmowers.  He is now retired. Source: (Clark County Press Neillsville, Clark Co. WI. October 14, 1965)




Mr. and Mrs. Tom Wren observed their 68th wedding anniversary, October 15, 1969, at their home in Sydney.  They have lived here most of their lives with the exception of a few years, which they spent in Minnesota.


Mr. Wren has farmed, worked in saw mills, worked for the city and has sharpened many lawn mowers through the years.  (Those were the days of non-motorized lawn mowers. dmk)


Their children came to visit them, but not all were able to come on the same day.  They are: Myrtle Polzin of Sturtevant; Dorothy Karnitz of Neillsville; Nina Rush of Merrillan; Helen, at home; Elmer and Mrs. Louie (Hada) Cardarelle, both of West Bend; and Gilbert of Neillsville.


They have 30 grandchildren, 66 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.


Mr. Wren is 90 and Amy is 91 years old, and both are in fairly good health.




Thomas E Wren


Clark County Press (Neillsville, WI) December 18, 1969


Surnames: Wren, Hatch, King, Polzin, Rush, Karnitz, Cardarelle, Baptie, Schudi


Funeral services for Thomas E Wren, age 90, who died at his home at Sydney, on R. 2 Neillsville, on December 11, 1969, were held Saturday at 3 p.m. from the Georgas Funeral Home, with the Rev. D. Eugene Sprague, pastor of the Neillsville Assembly of God Church, officiating.  Burial was made in the Town of Grant Cemetery.


Mr. Wren was born February 10, 1879, to Sereno and Alleda (Hatch) Wren, in the Town of Grant, where he received his education.


He was married in Neillsville, October 15, 1901, to the former Amy King.  For a few years they lived in Minnesota, where he was employed in a saw mill.  He had lived in Sydney the past 45 years.


Surviving Tom are his wife, Amy and five daughters, Mrs. Myrtle Polzin of Sturtevant, Mrs. Nina Rush of Merrillan, Mrs. Louis (Hada) Cardarelle of West Bend, Mrs. Dorothy Karnitz and Helen Wren of Neillsville; two sons, Elmer of West Bend and Gilbert of Neillsville; a sister, Evelyn Baptie of Seattle, Wash.; 35 grandchildren; 66 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.


Pallbearers were: Donald and Melvin Cardarelle, John Schudi, Jon Karnitz, Robert Polzin and Ronnie Wren.


Mrs. D. Eugene Sprague sang “Buelah Land” and “Near the Cross” accompanied at the organ, by Mrs. Rudolph Novak. 


Those from out-of-town attending the services included: Mrs. Myrtle Polzin and sons, Robert J, Thomas E, and Marvin E Polzin, of Sturtevant; Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Wren, Mr. and Mrs. Louie Cardarelle and Donald of West Bend; Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Cardarelle of Sheboygan Falls; Mr. and Mrs. Jon Karnitz of Wisconsin Rapids; Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Selves and Mr. and Mrs. Roy Rush of Black River Falls; Mr. and Mrs. John Schudi and Peggy of St. Paul, Minn.; Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Novak and family of Merrillan.


Amy J Wren


Clark County Press (Neillsville, WI) August 2, 1973


Surnames: Wren, King, Buss, Polzin, Karnitz, Rush, Cardarelle


AMY J WREN (July 3, 1878-July 30, 1973)


Former Sydney Resident, Mrs. Wren, dies at 95.


A native of the Town of Grant and former Sydney area resident, Mrs. Amy J. Wren of Neillsville, died July 30, at the age of 95.  Funeral services for Mrs. Wren are to be held this (Thursday) afternoon at 1:30 p.m. from the Georgas Funeral Home with the Rev. Melvin Nickel of the United Methodist Church officiating.  Interment will be in the Town of Grant Cemetery.


Amy was born in the Town of Grant, on July 3, 1878 to Edward and Elizabeth (Buss) King.  She was educated in the Town of Grant schools.  Her marriage to Thomas E Wren, who preceded her in death, in December of 1969, took place October 15, 1901, in Neillsville.


Following their marriage, the couple moved to Minnesota for several years, then returned to Clark County and farmed in the Town of Grant for a few years before settling in the Sydney area.  They lived there until her husband’s death.  For the past year, Mrs. Wren lived with her daughter in Neillsville because of failing health.


She is survived by seven children: Mrs. Myrtle Polzin of Sturtevant, Mrs. Dorothy Karnitz of Neillsville, Mrs. Nina Rush of Merrillan, Helen Wren of Neillsville, Elmer Wren and Mrs. Louie (Hada) Cardarelle of West Bend and Gilbert Wren of Neillsville; and by 27 grandchildren, 72 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.


Wren, Amy Jane






Edward & Elizabeth (Buss) King



Wren, Helen








Wren, Marion






Thomas & Amy Wren


Wren, Sarah J.








Wren, Sarah West



b. Pleasant Ridge, Grant, Clark, WI

Frank Wren


William & ? Waterpool


Wren, Thomas Eugene









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